The Nameless Game

Let me introduce you to a great friend of mine, The Nameless Game. It's not so much that the game has no name, it's that it went so long without a name that it was simply known as The Nameless Game, which then went on to become its name.

This game arose from our frequent Magic sessions where one player would invariably have to go make a phone call, go talk to his wife, reshuffle their deck, answer the door for pizza, etcetebla and leave the game hanging on pause. What did the other players do? They developed The Nameless Game. Now I'm sure that one person suggested it and then another player agreed to try it but I don't recall who it was who had the stroke of genius to come up with it in the first place (though I know it was not me). The game went on to become legendary. There is a d20 version, there's a version with character classes, there's a variant with a death stroke rule but nothing beats the original for pure, simple fun that anyone can enjoy in under five minutes.

The equipment: One six-sided die (d6)
The rules:
1 - Each player rolls a d6 to determine their initiative (aka: who goes first). Highest roll wins and then proceed clockwise from there. Re-roll among the winners if there's a tie. Repeat until someone wins.
2 - If there are more than 2 players in the game, the starting player declares who is being attacked.
3 - The player rolls a d6.
= On a 5 or a 6, it's a hit.
= Anything else is a miss and the turn ends passing to next player (see step 5).
4 - If a hit is rolled, the player rolls the d6 again and does that much damage to the player they were attacking. (aka: the hit player reduces their life total by that many points)
= If the hit player is dead (aka: has no more points of life), they are eliminated and no longer roll to attack. I'll get to how much life you start with later.
5 - The turn ends and the next player starts their turn by declaring who they are attacking (see step 3).
6 - Repeat until only one remains.

That's the whole game.

Each player can have their own d6 or you can pass around a single d6. You can use pen and paper or counters to track totals but you really don't need to because you will rarely need to remember a number greater than 10. The length of the game is mostly determined by the initial life totals of each player. I find a good formula for a snappy game is: 20 / number of players (round up). So a 2-player clash has 10 points for each player to start with and 3 people = 7 points, 4 people = 5 points, and so on... Some people can be eliminated in the first round if the starting life is <=6 so you can always keep 7 as a minimum number if you really want but that kind of defeats the purpose of the game which is simply a hectic way to keep people with ADD amused for the 5 minutes of downtime that can occur during a gaming session.

It's amazing how intensely wrapped up in such a simple game we tend to get but shouting, cursing, boasting and taunting comes so easily in a game such as this. There's a lot of drama with each roll, and, as with all good games, it gets more dramatic the closer to the end you are. I suggest you try it if you're ever stuck for a quick game and all you have at hand is a teensy-weensy six-sided die.


Behind the Music Hot Chicks

I like finding out who writes/produces the songs I like and it sometimes surprises me the links that can be found.

For instance, an easy example is The Neptunes. They've pretty much had a hip-hop song of theirs in the Top 10 for the last four years in a row. A sampler: Hella Good (No Doubt), Hot in Herre (Nelly), Like I Love You (Justin Timberlake), Drop It Like It's Hot (Snoop Dogg), Slave 4 U (Britney Spears), and on and on... Even if you don't like the music, you gotta give props to a solid record of making da hot beats.

Another songwriter that's wormed her way into your ear: Cathy Dennis. She wrote Can't Get You Out Of My Head (Kylie Minogue) and Toxic (Britney Spears), two songs that roamed the radio like dinosaurs ruled the Earth. I remember her dance hits from when I was in high school...

The inspiration for this post is finding out that Linda Perry, former lead singer of 4 Non-Blondes, has written a bunch of songs that have made the radio. Beautiful (X-Tina), Get The Party Started (Pink), What You Waiting For (Gwen Stefani). Hey, I liked their version of Misty Mountain Hop.


Waxing Gibbous

I wonder how many years we'd have to go back before the average person knew when the next full moon was...


Boxing Ethnics

A couple days ago I was part of a discussion with some friends over what constitutes "ethnicity". I was surprised to hear that some people define it purely from a genetic standpoint. Two Japanese people have a child in Korea, raise him there as a Korean. I asked, "Is this child ethnically Japanese?" The answer was a definite yes. That ethnicity is simply a sub-class of race. Caucasian is a race and Swedish is an ethnicity. "So culture plays no role in ethnicity?" A "No" came flying back at me, hit me in the nose and took a twenty from my wallet on the way out.

I don't think I can bring myself to define ethnicity in the same way. Certainly, I wasn't the only one who felt that way but I was definitely the one who felt it strongest (or at least was willing to articulate it the strongest language). Part of the discussion revolved around whether there exists a Canadian ethnicity. I don't think there exists a Canadian ethnicity (and, frankly, I find ethnicity and race highly overrated concepts; to me, it's like saying that tabby cats and black cats have different and defining characteristics beyond their superficial physical ones) but certainly people can identify themselves as Canadian. That, however, is so subjective that it's impossible to classify as definitvely as people seem able to do for ethnicity.

I definitely feel culture must play some role in a person's ethnicity or else, to my sensbilities, it simply feels like a eugenics exercise. In writing this post, I've gained a dislike for the term. I really don't see any purpose to the concept other than to divide people along some fairly silly lines. But people like boxes and placing themselves and others in boxes so, admittedly speaking as someone who's grown up without a very clear box to draw around himself (and glad for it), ethnicity seems like a dopey idea.


We Can Ignore One

What's the smallest number with prime factors 2, 3, 4?
12 (yeah, yeah, 4 guarantees 2 but I'm trying to make a point here)

Number of hours on a traditional western clock face?

What's the smallest number with prime factors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6?
60 (you get 6 as a bonus prime factor since you already have 2 and 3)

Number of minutes in an hour? Number of seconds in a minute?

What's the smallest number with prime factors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10?
360 (ok, you only need 5, 8 and 9 but still...)

Number of degrees in a circle?

I've always thought that was kinda cool.


I Heart McDonald's

I don't talk enough about food. I love the act of eating. I enjoy good food. I like to cook. Sometimes. In any case, I wanted to talk about food but instead I'll talk about McDonald's which only legally counts as food in a few states.

I can recall going to Mickey D's often as a kid. It was the rare treat for my brother and me. Our family very infrequently ate out. Both my parents were good cooks at least. But when we did go out, it was usually to the golden arches. I got the Happy Meal (TM) and it did make me happy.

It sufficed for years until the family went out to McDo with an older kid, a friend of the family. He ordered two cheeseburgers. It blew my mind. I hadn't even conceived of ordering two burgers. I just thought that one day I would grow up and get the adult burger, the Big Mac. Two cheeseburgers?! There were people out there eating things that were beyond my reckoning. It turns out that two cheeseburgers was among those meals beyond even my ability to imagine.

Which leads me to one of my favourite meals:
- 2 Cheeseburgers
- 1 Medium fries
- 3 McNuggets (if your region allows it)
- 1 Medium root beer

I ask for a honey and BBQ sauce and then I mix them together with a fry. I eat that fry first. Thus begins a tasty and enjoyable meal.

Of course, I feel awful about two hours later. It feels like a bowling ball is breakdancing in my intestines: not good. But even though I know I'll pay the price later, I still look forward to it three or four times a year. And now that I have a kid, I can get the McDonaldland comic, too!